Cheating On Me COVER

Discussion in 'Showcase Work' started by DKAUDIO, Jan 28, 2016.


    DKAUDIO DKAUDIO Active Member

    Hey guys!! This is a cover that I recorded with a good friend. The piano is a patch and I had some trouble mixing it to keep from sounding either fake, or too harsh. I am happy with the vocals in the intro and end, but during the chorus I had trouble keeping everything balanced and distortion free. Also keeping the vocal smooth and not too harsh. I would LOOVEE all of your opinions!!!!


    Attached Files:

  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member


    Perhaps the piano is a bit too "modern" sounding? Did you happen to record a midi track for the piano at the same time that you recorded the audio? If you did, you could call up the midi track and assign it to different samples, to see what might work better, without trying to dramatically change the EQ on the patch that is there now. If you find yourself struggling with a particular sound/sample, sometimes it's better to look for a different sample, than it is to attempt to dramatically manipulate a single one to your liking.

    ...And you've got a pretty deep/long reverb on both the piano and your voice for something that is performed so intimately. This is just my own personal preference of course, but I hear a song like this and I want to hear it in a more "natural" way, with more of a "localized" ambience than the longer, deeper verb you have on both the vocal and the keys.

    As an example, I think I would use a song like Sinatra's "One For My Baby"....which has a more intimate, "closer" type of sound.... or maybe Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" ...

    You've got a really nice voice, there's no need to "mask" it with heavy effect, or to distract the listener away from it in any way, either... which personally, is what I feel is happening. There were moments in there where I ended up focusing more on the effect than I did your actual voice...

    Very nice song, Any comments I've made are most certainly not deal-breakers. You could release this now as it is, and be proud. I'm just offering suggestions because you asked. ;)

  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Except for the saturation on the vocal, it sounds great !! Nice job !
    Gain staging is hard when recording a very dynamic performance. Many will use gain riding but I'm not good at it and tend to create problems instead of fixing any.
    So I adjust the gain so the loudest part of the content isn't saturating anywhere in the signal chain and I try to get it to the converters without peaks higher than -10db. My usual average input level is around -18db but with dynamic content I concentrate more on the peaks. By choosing -10db, it leaves some marging in case the artist has a burst of emotion and goes higher than the moment I set the levels.. Every take I monitor the levels and adjust according to the changes if any..
    This may leave you with a track that has the lower parts at -30db, but with 24bit recording and fairly quiet preamp and mic (noisewise), it's not a problem.

    DKAUDIO DKAUDIO Active Member

    Awesome!!! Thank you! Amazing advice! I'm actually using a very in depth and advanced Native Instruments piano that is very very versitille, so I will mess around with that. As for the vocal, I totally agree on the length of the reverb, Im going to take a listen to the examples you suggested and see what I can do!! Thank youuu!!!


    DKAUDIO DKAUDIO Active Member

    To be completely honest, as an engineer I was really dreading the moment when another engineer pointed out the saturation on this vocal. But I appreciate it immensely!! I happen to be also quite awful at real time gain riding and often set the max gain to the loudest part of the song! I was doing this throughout the session and then he went for it the last take and he loved the performance on the take and felt very strongly we used it. Is it still usable? I know the over saturation is subtle and some of it can be attributed to the way he forms his vowels, but should I have him re do it? Or is it ok and sounds like a mix/ tracking choice?

    Anyway, thank you sooooo much!!!!


  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I don't hear it as subtle at all. I find it very obvious that the vocal is distorted at some parts. Having many tube preamps in my arsenal, I trained myself to hear them when they break to saturation. On some musical styles you want it to happen and others you don't. In the end it should be an artistical choice.

    That aside, is it usable ? YES, absolutly! I'd use an imperfect track with perfect performance over a perfectly recorded lifeless performance any day !
    Last night I did say the same thing to a Customer, he had trouble with a part of his song and got it once with an incredible vibe but some notes were flat. We kept this track because it was authentic and unique ! So should you ;)

    DKAUDIO DKAUDIO Active Member

    Thank you! As I may have mentioned in another post previously, it's a new preamp, and I'm still getting used to the gain structures of a tube pre. I'm having a tough time finding the right balance of saturation and I will continue to practice with this particular pre. But I appreciate the feedback! About how much dialing back are we talking about? I personally think that digital distortions and Tube over saturation have very different sounds. When I think of digital distortion, I think of a crunchy guitar or someone recording a cheap demo from their laptop mic and not setting the levels at all. Or someone simply dialing up the gain to peaking on a track. When I think of tube over saturation, I think of the sound filling out so much that it almost, "over fills" in a sense. I know this is a weird description but I feel as though it's a good description. You have experience hearing this over saturation and I'm quite under practiced. I will continue to work on it! Any suggestions are EXTREMELY appreciated!!


  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I think you should seperate the terms saturation and distortion. When I think of tube saturation, it's usually very subtle harmonics that adds a bit of character to the sound.
    About distortion, it is when it breaks to Crunch like you said like an guitar cab would do.
    Dialing back the gain of a tube preamp is a bit tricky because they often have less headroom. So if you put it too low, you'd get some noises when you put up the level at the mix time.
    Quite honestly, when I have a very dynamic content to record, I don't chose one of my tube preamp but one that has a lot of headroom. and once it's recorded I can create volume automations and they re-amp it to a tube.

    The best thing you can do is keeping using it and make some tests, at high and low gain et find the sweet spot this particular tube pre has.
    DonnyThompson likes this.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Marco beat me to it - regarding the differences between saturation and distortion; while they can be considered to be the same things essentially, it's usually a matter of the degrees of each that separates one from the other.

    I heard moments where it bordered between both - but to me, for this song, it wasn't a deal breaker. While there were a few times where it definitely "pushed" the border between Satch and Crunch, it never got to the point where I thought the track was ruined; I never thought "oh, that's too bad, they're gonna have to re-track that phrase"... you came close a time or two, but I didn't hear anything that obviously trashed the track (that's my personal opinion).

    As Marco said, I'd rather have a track like this, than one that was "perfect", yet sterile and cold at the same time, lacking warmth and richness.

    Are there certain sections I would maybe dial back a bit next time? Maybe. Probably. Yes.
    Getting to know your preamp and its own little inherent "tweakies" will really help you to know how best to use it, and what to expect from it when you dial in certain levels, using certain mics, on certain performers, at certain distances, etc.
    You may find that adjusting your pre's gain by even half a notch will make a noticeable difference; and this comes with time and experience, and using it a lot, and committing certain things to memory so that they eventually just become second nature to you. You'll eventually find the "sweet spots" of the pre - and the mics you use with it as well, because different mics will obviously behave and sound differently. You may find at some point that adding a compressor to your gain chain might be beneficial...or not. It just takes time, experimentation and experience to find "that one setting", for that one performer, that gives you that moment of, "Yeah...Okay.. That's the spot... there it is!"

    Now, the reverb still bugs me... but be aware that this is still all just one guy's opinion, based on what I like to hear, my own preferences in songs of this style, that are more intimate in vibe.

    In the end... you need to produce it the way that you feel is best, that you feel fulfills the sonic vision that you have.



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